TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - You may have heard of “cool pavements” in Los Angeles.

Some Southern California suburbs have painted streets white to try and cool everyone down. But one ASU researcher has found something “not so cool” about the whole idea.

[WATCH: ASU professor discovers white pavement not that cool]

It was a sight to see nearly two years ago when some Southern California neighborhoods painted their streets white, hoping a lack of black pavement was a hack to stay cool.

“But there haven’t really been any measurements about that,” said ASU climate researcher and professor Ariane Middel.

Fast forward to this past summer when climate researcher Middel wanted to change that.

She took a trip to L.A. to study the effects, especially on humans.

They found all of the streets that were painted white were indeed cooler. But ironically, the heat was reflecting off of the white surface, and a person standing on it would absorb it, making their heat load 7 degrees hotter.

Middel brought a team of students with her on the trip.

“Four people. Plus, Marty. So essentially five!” she laughed. “So, I have this robot called Marty.”

Marty was the one to make the heat discovery.

The robot’s sensors can detect all sorts of data, including heat effects on humans. They identified that the cooler white pavement ultimately makes people themselves hotter.

“There’s essentially no perfect strategy,” said Middel.

“Basically, if it’s hot, it’s hot!” said reporter Briana Whitney.

“If it’s hot, it’s hot!” Middel echoed.

And while black and white pavement has no black and white solution, Middel said just trying this out and seeing the effects, scientifically, is pretty cool.


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